Summary: In another world Harry accepted Draco's friendship and was Sorted into Slytherin. Now he has found a way to change places with Gryffindor Harry, who learns that there is more to Malfoy than it seems...

Disclaimer: I do not own or remotely have any relation to Harry Potter or J.K. Rowling, though I do have the HP books. I do not have any permission to write this, and I do so solely for my own pleasure and am not making any profit from it.

Pairings: HP/DM, SB/RL, RW/HG and others

Timeline: Fourth book onwards and the fifth never existed in my happy imaginary world.

When Two Worlds Collide

Chapter Two: Unfamiliar Friends

"Whoa, hold up, so you're saying I got into Slytherin – just like that. Without a fight. Without any more convincing, or anything? Have I been tested for insanity in this world? Not that I really believe that whole switching worlds thing, you understand."

Draco eyed Harry with increasing irritation, as the Gryffindor paced in circles around the large bathroom. "I've been told my charisma knows no bounds," he drawled, trying to hide his impatience. "You must have been bowled over by my irresistible charm."


The Slytherin's fragile hold on his famous temper snapped. "Alright, that's it, I'm not saying anything else, we'll just – I'll just sit here while you make yourself sick with dizziness and hopefully drop dead of exhaustion, and you can stew in your own mental agony until my Harry comes back, because your moronically mulish attitude is not helping you any, I can tell you!"

Harry glared at him.

At least, I hope he'll come back, Draco amended mentally, turning away from that glare. Harry had sworn to abide by a few rules before Draco had let him even think about actually attempting the potion, and one of them had been to return in the space of five minutes. Draco had privately allowed him five more minutes' leeway, because he knew how Harry was like, but half an hour had gone by so far and even Harry's insatiable curiosity would never get the better of his integrity, especially if Draco was involved.

In short, he was very, very worried.

Especially since Gryffindor Harry had told him he'd been in the middle of a duel when he'd been switched.

He glanced over at the Gryffindor – he still couldn't quite accept the fact that Harry had ended up in the Golden House, of all places, since he knew first-hand how entirely Slytherin Harry was. The other boy caught his gaze, and the hatred in those eyes made Draco flinch. He suddenly, desperately, achingly needed a hug – and not just from anybody. From the one person who was always there, but who now – wasn't.

Harry… what happened? Please, please, come back soon. But above all – be safe.

Please be safe.

The Gryffindor Harry suddenly made a break for the door, but for the sixth time was stung by the magical barrier that Draco had put around it; his next move was to try to attack Draco himself, but he was repelled – again – by yet another barrier around the Slytherin. Who merely sighed, having gotten used to the sheer impulsiveness of this Harry. His Harry had learned to use wiles more than physical violence, but it had taken Draco a while to teach him.

Would Harry have been like this – so violent, and hardened – would he have been like this, if it hadn't been for me? Draco wondered. He'd always been curious as to how much he'd influenced Harry, but to see his thoughts come to life in such a way was – unpleasant.

They subsided into a sort of belligerent silence, Harry finally sitting down on the floor, imitating Draco's cross-legged position. Mentally Draco chanted Harry you idiot come back now over and over again; outwardly he had regained his cool and unruffled demeanour.

There was a knock on the door.

Harry shot to his feet and stared intensely at the door, with a sort of malignant glee, though Draco only opened his eyes lazily, and wearily. "Yes?" he called, putting just the right amount of threat, warning and annoyance into his voice that would have scared away any of the students who knew him.

"Draco, is Harry with you?"

He groaned out loud. All but one, that is.

Harry's eyes lit up, and a look of gleeful smugness spread across his face. "Hermione!" he shouted. "It's me! Malfoy has me locked up – won't let me out –"

"Harry? Draco – what are you doing to him in there – wait, no, I don't want to know. Could I speak with him for a while first, though? It's important – about DADA, and Harry knows best about that –"

"Alright, alright, hold on," Draco grumbled, gracefully getting to his feet. "I guess it can't be helped…" He looked at Harry critically. "I don't suppose by some miracle you're my Harry again? No? Bloody shame, they're going to decapitate me, but I suppose this'll make you believe, if nothing else."

Harry's smile had faded; the easy way in which Hermione had called Draco by his first name, and her relaxed attitude at finding Harry and Draco together, had unpleasant implications. He was silent as Draco murmured the counter-spell, and a brief blue glow flared around the door before fading; he didn't move from his spot, staring hard at the door, as Draco opened it to reveal Hermione.

The girl looked around the room and raised an eyebrow. "No kinky equipment, I'm surprised," she commented. "Though if you were doing anything inappropriate with the cauldron, please leave me in the dark."

Despite the feeling of impending doom, Draco had to smile, rather relieved at having his reality confirmed. Being in the same room as a Harry who hated him had been doing wonders for his sanity. He couldn't resist needling Hermione, though. "I'm sure you wouldn't need any advice from us; you do well enough with Ronald, I hear. Sometimes very… clearly," he drawled.

Hermione went red, but managed to look haughty. "I came to consult with Harry, not trade wits with amateurs," she sniffed, but the laughter in her expression was plain. "Come, Harry, let us – Harry? Is anything wrong?"

Draco turned to look at Harry as well. The Gryffindor looked horrified, utterly lost, and – a little… scared. He felt the first traces of pity run through him since the boy had replaced his Harry – it had to be really disconcerting, to suddenly find yourself in a world where your enemy was your best friend, and discussed bedroom matters with your other best friends.

He hadn't dared yet to tell him about the 'lover' part.

Harry took a deep breath, let it out, took another; then he sent a pleading look towards the Gryffindor girl. "Hermione, please, if this is a joke – stop it now."

Draco had to admire this Harry's perseverance.

Hermione looked as confused as Harry was trying desperately not to look. "Joke?" she echoed. "What joke? What do you mean, 'this'? Harry – I don't understand –"

Draco made a discreet gesture that drew Hermione's attention to him, and shook his head slightly. Hermione, who had been working herself into a fit, subsided, but sent him a questioning look that demanded answers. Wait, Draco mouthed, and then turned back to Harry. He watched as a mental battle waged itself in Harry's mind, and noted the point when one particular thought won.

"How did you two become so friendly?" the now-Gryffindor demanded, eyes narrowed at Draco. He didn't look at Hermione – consciously or unconsciously, Draco didn't know, but he was betting on the latter. He himself had found it hard to look at Harry, who was so different from the one he'd grown to love, but had forced himself to. One of them had to be strong.

Draco considered the answers he could give. "It's a long story."

"I don't care! I want some answers, dammit!"

Draco made a face. "Language," he said automatically, then smacked himself mentally as Harry stared, slack-jawed, and then turned red with anger. His Harry would have simply rolled his eyes, but this one…

"Who the hell do you think you are to lecture me!"

Instead of replying, which would almost definitely make things worse – he could taste the words on the tip of his tongue, and they were not nice worse – Draco swallowed his temper and said calmly, "Do you want to hear this or not?"

Harry glared, and opened his mouth – to yell some more, no doubt.

"Harry James Potter! You will be quiet and listen to Draco, or so help me, I'll smack you myself!"

The two boys gaped at Hermione. Hands on her hips, she glared back. "Draco's been more than patient with you – I don't know what's wrong, exactly, but you have no right to act as if the world owes you!"

Harry just blinked. Then, to Draco's surprise – and relief – he sat down on the floor and crossed his arms. "I'm listening," he said curtly.

Draco gave Hermione a brief smile of thanks, which turned sheepish when she gave him a look that said he had a lot of explaining to do, and she had a feeling she wouldn't like any of it. As she sat, he recast the locking spell, and then sat down himself, resigned to the fact that he was in for another bout of long story-telling. "Where do you want me to start?" he asked.

"From where you left off," was Harry's immediate answer.

This time Draco didn't bother suppressing his groan. "We'll be here for hours."

"We have time," Hermione said firmly.

I hope not, because it'd mean Harry's stuck there, Draco thought, but kept it to himself. He shifted to lean against the wall, making himself comfortable, and then took a deep breath, remembering…

He had to smile at the wide-eyed amazement that radiated from Harry when the food appeared on the table – his cluelessness was rather endearing – but then he was distracted by Blaise asking him a question. It took Harry's pressing close to him to realize that the green-eyed boy was being bombarded with so many questions that there was no way he could even hear what any one person was saying. Mentally Draco berated himself, his father had assured him that the other Slytherins had all been instructed to treat Harry normally, but he should have realized that curiosity could never be fully restrained.

Despite being a first-year, Draco was confident in his power, and so drew himself to as commanding a position he could sitting down. Placing a hand on Harry's shoulder, he coolly waited. One by one the others fell silent – he'd just effectively declared that Harry was under his jurisdiction, a claim that could only be contested by Harry himself; it was one of many subtle Pureblood traditions regarding new blood. Harry, unaware of the implications, relaxed a little and turned to smile at Draco.

That seals it, he thought with satisfaction as he noted the grudging acceptance of the others, even the seventh years. He felt a little bad, knowing that Harry had no idea what was happening, but he justified it by telling himself that he was doing Harry a favour, naming himself as his guide.

"Harry is new to the Wizarding world," he informed the table. "Please do not overwhelm him. Harry?"

Harry looked questioningly at him.

He smiled encouragingly. "Would you like to introduce yourself?"

"Oh. Um, hello… I'm Harry Potter." He gave his new housemates a tentative smile. "Pleased to meet all of you."

Draco squeezed Harry's shoulder, and then released it. "Introductions are in order, I think. You've already met Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle." Harry nodded at the two large boys; they grunted acknowledgement. "Blaise?"

His black-haired, brown-eyed friend grinned at Harry, and offered him a hand to shake. "Hello, Harry. I'm Blaise Zabini, call me Blaise. If Draco's ever unavailable, you can come find me."

"We're all childhood friends," the brunette next to Blaise added as Harry shook the boy's hand. "Our parents move in the same circles… I'm Pansy Parkinson. Pleased to meet you, Harry."

By the time they reached their dorms, Harry was laughing easily with Blaise, and could already interpret some of Vince and Greg's grunts. While Draco was glad that he was fitting in, he couldn't help feeling a little left out. He didn't know why – he had been trained to detach himself from friendship, and to hate Harry Potter, since he was young. He shouldn't feel anything other than worry that attachment to others would lessen Harry's attachment to him.

He shouldn't, but… he did.

No. He didn't want to think about what he did feel. Unconsciously his thoughts turned to that wooden box of his, where he had kept the drawings and stories he hadn't wanted his father to see, because he'd known that it would get him the beating of his young life.

It had.

In his mind's eye, the box burned.


He was jolted out of his thoughts by a worried voice. He blinked, and looked at Harry, who was watching him anxiously. "I'm sorry, I blanked out for a moment… what is it?"

Harry bit his lip. "Um… Iknowit'sweirdbutI'dreallylikeitifyousleptnexttome," he said in a rush.

Draco blinked.

Harry grimaced, and then repeated, a slight blush on his face, "I know it's a weird thing to ask, but I'd like it if you slept on the bed next to mine…?"

It took a while for the sentence to sink in, but when it did nothing could have stopped the wide smile that spread across Draco's face. "Of course," he said, trying to squish the feeling of warmth that fluttered through his body. "Which bed do you want?"

Harry beamed, and grabbed his hand, towing him to a bed next to the wall. "This one!" he declared, letting go of Draco and jumping onto it, bouncing on the bed. Draco laughed, and sat on the bed next to his; the other boys spread out from there, each picking a bed.

And later that night, after lights-out when everyone else was sleeping, Draco awoke to the sensation of someone getting onto his bed. "Who…?" he said drowsily, half-alseep.

"It's me," came the whisper.

Draco came awake at the undertone of fear in that voice. "Harry? What's wrong… did you have a nightmare?"

"I… I'm not used to sleeping… so deep underground. Can I…"

"Of course," Draco interrupted, pushing down the covers. "Get in, it's cold."

"…Thank you." Harry crawled under the covers, and Draco pulled them over him.

"Good night, Harry," he said, already sliding into sleep.

"Night, Draco."

"…co? Draco?"

He came out of his reverie to see Harry scowling fiercely at him; for a moment he was disorientated, and then the whole fiasco came back to him. In that split second he wanted to yell at Harry for convincing him to try the potion, and himself for being convinced, but then he pushed the emotion away. It would not help.

Hermione had been the one calling him; now she watched him worriedly. "Are you alright? You blanked out for a while."

He wanted to say No, He Was Decidedly Not Alright, but now was not the time to cheek Hermione. He sighed instead, and sorted through his memories. Finding a good place to start, he began.

"The first day of classes, we had double potions with the Gryffindors…"

I realize the switching between worlds is pretty confusing… I apologize. I have no idea how to make it better, though, and I really dislike the idea of putting labels like 'Other World' or 'Normal World' before each segment – but if you guys think it'll help, then just say the word.

Ashen Skies
"In his mind's eye, the box burned."